Review: "The Tattooed Wolf"

Though I hadn't thought about it before, I guess it's rather obvious that if you shun an entire artistic form, you are going to miss out on stories you'd like. If you simply don't read comics, you miss out on the best comics have to offer because of that prejudice.

My big prejudice is e-books. I'm not a fan of trying to read fiction on a screen, probably because if I want to read for hours, which I often do, as I don't have a sex life to speak of, I have to basically stare at a screen as bright as a light bulb for the whole time.

So when authors have emailed me in the past, asking me if I'd like to review their newest pdf file, I generally just refer them to Evo, who'll read damn near anything.

So I get K. Bannerman's The Tattooed Wolf in my inbox, and Evo tells me it's worth the read. So, what do I do? I print the whole damn thing out, probably spending more than if I bought the book as a paperback.

How I suffer for you guys! Sigh.

Well, the story was definitely worth killing a few lousy trees.

The Gist: Dan Sullivan wants to divorce his wife. They are having marital difficulties, to say the least. So he seeks the services of Morris Caufield, a divorce lawyer, to represent his wife in the divorce settlement. Mr. Sullivan wants his wife represented diligently and faithfully, with one caveat. He wants the Caufield to gloss over the fact that his wife will claim that he is a werewolf. If he is willing to represent her under these circumstances, Dan will tell him who has been blackmailing him the last several months.

Now, come on, you gotta admit. That is a GREAT start to a story.

The Good: What can I say? Ms. Bannerman is a pretty good writer. The story is told in a very Interview With the Vampire kind of way, without the bloated prose. The story is told in an interview format, with Dan as the narrator and Caufield as the interviewer. This flashback format works as a bit of a double edged sword, as it often can in stories. On the one hand, the story builds quite nicely towards the murder attempts, and you as the reader are anticipating when and how they are going to happen. On the other hand, you know he's going to survive, so the tension isn't as strong as it could be. But overall, I think the way the story flows and the good banter between Dan and Caufield make the format work very well.

Another plus is that the story is character-driven, which I far prefer to plot-driven tales. The author displays unusual and sometime uncomfortable characters, and I care about them all, the significant players and the extras. If you like reading stories about intriguing people, this story doesn't disappoint.

And another plus. This book is short. By today's standards it could really be considered a long novella. It clocks in at a little under seventy thousand words. And I liked it that way. I firmly believe that both books and movies are getting to be too damn long. It's hard to tell a good, tight novel that is 200,000 words or longer. I'd far rather read a good short tome than one with obvious filler added to reach a specific word count.

The Bad: In her Dragon Page interview, the author said she liked the e-book version to the paperback version that is available because it is better edited. Unfortunately, it could have been even better. It's not horrible by any stretch, but there were enough typos to bother me every once in a while. And the pdf version is formatted pretty close to manuscript format. The lines are double-spaced in a 12 pt. font. This may be common with e-books, I don't know, but for me, who printed it out, that meant I had to use a lot of paper. Still, like I said, it was worth the trouble.

The Ugly: Ok, this I completely baffled me. The pdf version of the book has no page numbers. What's up with that? How the hell am I supposed to keep track of where I am? Whatever.

If you like short, satisfying reads between your Harry Potter or A Song of Ice and Fire, ten pound seat-raisers, then buy the tree-killer or planet-friendly version of this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

10-7-04 - Note: After reading the interview, the author realized she sent me an uncorrected proof to read and didn't tell me. The finished product has a copy of the book cover on the front page. The book is formatted slightly differently, and is edited better, so forget everyting I said about the formatting and editing. I still couldn't get page numbers to print out, but hey, you can't have everything, dammit!

The Tattooed Wolf by K. Bannerman
Published by: Double Dragon Publishing; September 2004
ISBN: 1554041732
Genre: Supernatural/Horror
Author's Webpage:

About Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy succumbed to leiomyosarcoma on April 1, 2007. The irony of this is not lost on any who knew him and laughed with him. He was the first “official” book reviewer for The Dragon Page Radio Talk Show, and after moving to Arizona, he became a frequent contributor to Cover to Cover, Wingin’ It, Slice of SciFi and co-host of Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas.

He will be missed.